If you were the victim of a surgical error, attorneys Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt welcome you to contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have. You may also download or request Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide to filing a medical malpractice claim in Ohio. Both Chris and Tom have represented injured clients for nearly thirty years, and Chris has litigated several landmark cases, including Moskovitz v. Mt. Sinai Medical Center (1994) and Watkins_v._Cleveland_Clinic_Foundation (1998).
Surgical Mistake Statistics
A recent Johns Hopkins study of medical malpractice claims revealed that surgical errors, which are also called “never events” because they are 100 percent preventable and should never happen, occur more than 4,000 times per year in this country. Nearly 33 percent of those patients suffered permanent injury and 6.6 percent died.
“[Researchers estimated] that at least 39 times a week a surgeon leaves foreign objects inside their patients, which includes stuff like towels or sponges. In addition surgeons performing the wrong surgery or operating on the wrong body part occurs around 20 times a week,” a December 2012 Medical News Today article stated.
Six years earlier, the journal Surgery published a study in which researchers reviewed 444 malpractice claims. Surgical errors prompted 258, or 58 percent, of those lawsuits, and 65 percent of those patients suffered “significant or major injury.” Nearly a quarter died.
How Do I File a Surgical Error Lawsuit?
How Do Christopher Mellino and Tom Robenalt Differ from Other Surgical Error Lawyers?
First, you will never see us on TV, the side of a bus, or a billboard. Attorneys and satisfied clients send us the majority of our medical malpractice claims. For instance, another firm was representing Cathy S. in a car accident case when her 78-year-old mother died of septic shock.
“When I took her in for surgery, there was absolutely nothing wrong with her. Nothing,” she says. But fifteen hours later, she was gone. “She passed away at University Hospital due to septic shock from a kidney stone and a urinary tract infection. The doctor performing the surgery failed to give her an antibiotic. … She should have had an antibiotic for this kidney stone, because it’s a highly infectious kidney stone — I looked it up on the computer. On top of that, he didn’t give her a urine culture, and she had a urinary tract infection that nobody knew about. So that’s two things he did wrong. As soon as he cut that kidney, she started getting infected. It was that quick.”
Cathy’s mother was rushed to University Hospital by ambulance, where they put her on dialysis, but it was too late. When Cathy told her lawyer what happened, he recommended Chris Mellino.
“I would recommend [Mellino Robenalt] to anybody if they ever needed a medical malpractice attorney,” she says. “Chris was thorough and understanding. Compassionate. He is very, very good. Always returned my calls, answered all my questions. The staff was wonderful, and we won our case. It didn’t bring my mom back, but I got justice for my mom.”
Mellino Robenalt also differs from other firms in that we only represent patients who suffered severe and debilitating injuries or death. Surgical error lawsuits are time consuming and labor intensive. By only accepting a few cases at a time, we’re able to give each one the unique attention it deserves.
Common surgical errors include:
- leaving equipment, such as a sponge, inside a patient
- puncturing organs or arteries, such as perforating a bowel, kidney, or intestine during hernia surgery;
- nerve damage;
- anesthesia errors; and
- removing the wrong organ or amputating the wrong limb.
If you suspect that a surgical mistake caused permanent injury or death, we welcome you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. You may also download or request attorney Chris Mellino’s free guide, “Your Ohio medical malpractice questions answered.”